When Hotel Rwanda was released last year I wrote a little about it. Since that time, I seem to get at least a hit or two a week from people searching for lesson plans on the movie. I am ready to show it to my sophomore world history classes, so I thought this might be the time to share my Rwandan Genocide lessons. These lesson come at the end of a larger unit on the Holocaust and genocide in general.
I first have them read chapter two of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. It is an incredible book by Philip Gourevitch that goes into extensive detail about the genocide. I have some questions (pdf) that students are to answer. The next day we discuss the reading and then I do a short lecture (ppt). Then I show the movie. During the movie the students complete a comparison (pdf) of the Holocaust to Rwanda using the eight stages of a genocide. I also lead several discussions comparing Schindler’s List and Hotel Rwanda.
This is always a powerful way to end the unit. The fact that this happened in 1994 makes it more relevant and reaffirms the fact that the issue of tolerance needs to be continually addressed.
In the spirit of self promotion, some of these materials are versions drawn from my published world history curriculum. If interested it can be found at the Teaching Point web site.